Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Civil Engagement

March 2018

A Letter from the Frontline Education CEO

Dear Readers,

At any given moment, you’ll find today’s education leaders courageously standing at the crossroads of conflict within their communities. In advancing a quality education for all, they are arbiters of cherished freedoms like free speech and religion. They weigh moral obligation and commitment to social justice and doing what they deeply believe is right against the law and societal or cultural norms. They are challenged, as one leader described it, to make “decisions that weigh heavy on the heart.”

Indeed. Because while some student behavior isn’t “disruptive,” it doesn’t mean it’s not insensitive or mean or damaging to individuals or the school community. Or, because the future of an undocumented high schooler isn’t certain, her dream to go to college isn’t the same as her documented sibling or best friend. Or, because a baseball hat stamped with “Make America Great Again” or a gay pride flag is offensive to some students, it should be banned.

This third issue of The Line explores how school leaders work through these conflicts of basic freedoms to protect students.

This third issue of The Line explores how school leaders work through these conflicts of basic freedoms to protect students. In reading the stories, the difficulties are undeniable and complicated by technology and politics and a variety of other factors that can’t be controlled. Still, within you’ll find lessons shared about civil engagement, problem-solving and working together for the greater good. New to this issue are more call-outs and suggestions for how you can use The Line to encourage conversation about issues in your district. If you do, please tell us about it on Twitter @TheLineK12 #civildiscourse or by commenting below or on any of the articles on this site.

Advocating for civil conversation and the sometimes-hard work of finding common ground is the purpose of The Line and an extension of Frontline Education’s mission. We are committed to being a resource for education leaders – helping them resolve conflicts and improve outcomes. I can think of no better way to do that then through The Line.

On behalf of the Frontline Research & Learning Institute, my thanks to all of the contributors of The Line for sharing their thoughts and our purpose in advancing civil discourse in education.


Tim Clifford

Tim Clifford | President & CEO
Frontline Education

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The Line’s purpose is to offer new ideas and insight and encourage civil discourse on the most significant K-12 issues we face.


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